The Lynnwood girls’ basketball team is all about defense. Royals head coach Everett Edwards is more succinct. “Defense is in our DNA,” he says.
First-year Edmonds-Woodway girls’ basketball coach Rebekah Wells would have to agree. She entered Wednesday’s game against Lynnwood with a team that was off to a 3-1 start.
After the Wesco 4A South game at Lynnwood High, which Lynnwood won 60-15 by dominating in every way possible, Wells acknowledged she had some work ahead of her. “Lynnwood got up the court a little quicker than us, and we let that get away from us. We were a little too relaxed on defense, and our turnovers led to us not getting the ball in the basket.”
It’s not as if Wells and her team were expecting anything but a tough game, as Lynnwood (6-0) was making its home debut and is ranked 13th in the country in the most recent USA Today Super 25 poll after recent nonconference wins against South Medford (Ore.) and Rainier Beach, both tough teams.
Lynnwood set the tone early, sprinting to a 19-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a swarming defense, snappy passing, and easy points under the basket. Junior Monty Cooper, sophomore Jordyn Edwards and sophomore Mikayla Pivec lead the charge early, Cooper and Edwards draining three-pointers and Pivec (15 points, 9 rebounds) taking control with rebounds, blocked shots, and aggressive defense.
The Warriors then played their best ball of the game, with junior Moni Jackson getting the team’s first basket with 3:53 left in the quarter, freshman Sydney Peterson connecting on a three-pointer, and Jackson again draining a two-pointer as E-W went on a 7-2 run.
Jackson’s jumper was the last points E-W would score for a while. After leading 23-7 at the end of the first quarter, Lynnwood shut out the Warriors 20-0 in the second to lead 43-7 at the half.
It was more of the same in the third quarter, the Royals playing with an easy confidence while building a 48-7 lead. At that point, with the Royals having a lead of more than 40 points, the game clock was allowed to run interrupted as both teams emptied their benches and let everyone get in the game.
Lynnwood made 26 of 43 shots, including 5 of 8 from three-point range. “We’ve been having trouble shooting from the outside,” said Edwards. “We’ve been putting in some extra time in practice, and it paid off for us today.” With the win, Lynnwood improved to 2-0 in the league and 6-0 overall. Edmonds-Woodway is 1-1 and 3-2.
Lynnwood’s dominance against Edmonds-Woodway, and earlier this year against Meadowdale, is now the new normal. It was only a few years ago that a game against the Lynnwood girls’ basketball team was a cakewalk for both E-W and Meadowdale.
Lynnwood coach Edwards surely deserves much of the credit, as his teams now look to dominate just as coach Karen Blair’s Meadowdale teams did in the early 2000s. (Blair left the program in 2005.)
“We’ve been very fortunate to have some very good athletes come our way,” said Edwards, who has two daughters on the team – Jasmin and Jordyn. “We also have a great feeder program, and our JV team and C teams are as strong as they’ve ever been. But we’re still a fairly young team, with three seniors. We had a great freshman class come in this year, so I think we’ll be pretty good for a couple of years if I don’t mess them up.”
– By Brian Soergel